ATLANTA, Sept. 21 2017 – The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Tourism division announced today that it has awarded more than $111,624 in product development resource team grants to 14 new and expanding tourism projects across the state.
“Georgia’s tourism industry continues to be one of the state’s leading industries with an economic impact of $60 billion,” said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner for tourism at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Tourism has a positive impact across the state, by spurring job creation, attracting investment and providing residents with an improved quality of life. The success of our industry relies on creation of new tourism product and the resource team grant helps activate these new developments.”
In an effort to further tourism product development within the state, Georgia Tourism offers this grant to communities who participated in the department’s Tourism Product Development Resource Team program as a way to build product outlined in the resource team’s reports. The Tourism Product Development Resource Team program works to evaluate a community’s potential for tourism growth and development through innovative and unique experiences based on a community’s local culture and heritage.
“One of our main obstacles in spurring new tourism product is funding in the communities that receive a Tourism Product Development Resource Team,” said Cindy Eidson, Director of Tourism Product Development for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “By providing grants for projects that we recommend, we help to jump-start tourism development, not only expanding Georgia’s tourism offerings, but also creating jobs and sustainable economic development in these communities.”
Georgia Tourism’s Product Development team has served 46 counties, cities, private for-profits and non-profits throughout the state in areas ranging from agritourism to downtown development.
The Tourism Product Development Resource Team Community Funding Program allows the communities served to build new product from the recommendations made by the Tourism Product Development Resource Team members or supports projects the community has developed as an expansion of the resource team’s recommendations. The recommendations and financial support provided through this funding program is designed to spur tourism development activities at the local level that maintain and create jobs, attract tourists, and enhance the visitor experience.
Recipients of the 2017 Tourism Product Development Funding Program include:
- Bartow County Government – George Washington Carver Park Improvement Project
- Chattooga County – Paradise Gardens Foundation, Inc. Office Renovation for Airbnb
- City of Clarkesville – The Old Clarkesville Cemetery Master Plan
- City of Clarkesville – Mauldin House Visitors Center Interpretative Exhibit
- City of Colquitt – Storytelling Murals
- City of Darien DDA – Historic Restoration Historic Vessel, Kit Jones
- City of Dublin – MLK Monument Lleras Sculpture, Landscaping & Lighting
- City of Forsyth – Wayfinding Signs for Forsyth
- City of Hawkinsville – Flicks on the Bricks
- City of Shellman – Shellman Grain Bin Murals
- City of Zebulon – Southside Photo Walk
- Meriwether County Industrial Development Authority – Meriwether County Murals Trail
- Randolph County Board of Commissioners – Randolph County Welcome Center Interactive Tourism Project
- Sandersville Downtown Development Authority – Sandersville Downtown PA/Speaker System
The Georgia Tourism review panel consists of members from the public and private sector as well as fellow professionals who are experienced in the tourism industry or the type of grant being reviewed.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, aligning workforce education and training with in-demand jobs, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. www.georgia.org